FORT COLLINS - It's often been said that Fort Collins has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country.
While that may be urban legend, food service researcher NPD Group ranks Fort Collins-Loveland as the city with the most fast-casual chain restaurants per resident. Denver ranks second.
Of the 15,728 fast-casual chain units in the U.S. Fort Collins-Loveland has 41, but it is No. 1 in terms of density with 13.14 locations per 100,000 residents, according to NPD's Spring 2013 ReCount restaurant census. The U.S. average is five units per 100,000 residents.
Many fast-casual chains, which are upscale quick-service restaurants with more service, better-quality food and higher prices than fast food eateries, have grown 9 percent in the fiscal year that ended in May. Growth in the overall restaurant industry was flat.
The ranking came as a surprise to Jim Clark, executive director of Visit Fort Collins. "Working downtown and even in Front Range Village you see so many unique restaurants," he said. "But we've always been known as an eating out/dining out town because everyone is so active. It comes as a surprise but when you match up the moderate income of the area and students that are here, I guess that would be true."
Through the first seven months of the year, city sales tax revenue from restaurants, caterers and bars was up nearly 4 percent from last year.
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